SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A memorial in Santa Barbara's Funk Zone--which remembers Black lives that have been lost to police brutality, injustice and racism--is set to return in the near future with a new design.
“This started in Portland, Oregon with a wedding designer,” said Leticia Forney-Resch, who along with members of the local Black community helped put the memorial up earlier this month. “She did it because she wanted to show solidarity with the Black community. Her being from Santa Barbara, I thought it was important for us to bring it here.”
Forney-Resch herself began taking the memorial down Thursday. It features more than 200 photos of Black people who have been killed, from the Civil Rights Movement to this year. Meagan Hockaday, who was originally from Santa Barbara and killed by a police officer in Oxnard in 2015, is included in the memorial.
The photos were tied to a chain link fence on an empty lot at the corner of Helena Avenue and East Yanonali Street. However, flowers adorning the fence had recently begun to wilt and a few photos were damaged.
“We have a new location lined up for [the memorial],” Forney-Resch said. “It will be in the Funk Zone again. We are working towards creating a structure. We have plans for it to be a little more permanent. It might move around all of Santa Barbara.”
Along with Jordan Killebrew, Forney-Resch is one of two new co-organizers leading the group Healing Justice SB, formerly known as Black Lives Matter Santa Barbara.
The former leaders, Simone Ruskamp and Krystle Sieghart, have moved away from the area but Forney-Resch says they are still very involved and committed to supporting Santa Barbara's Black community.
Healing Justice works with the city to support and recognize that community. Currently, Forney-Resch says, the group has four major goals: to establish a community review board for police misconduct; to open a community culture center including a museum; to recognize and commemorate local landmarks, like Black-owned homes and businesses; and to highlight and support Black art and culture locally.
“We want to make sure things get done properly, so we don’t feel that things need to be rushed,” Forney-Resch said. “But we do want things to happen in a timely manner… Anything that we are thinking or things that have suggestions, we’ll always bring it back to the Black community, to get their opinions, to get their 'yes's. It's a collective of people."
Forney-Resch notes that the Funk Zone memorial site bears added historical significance because it was home to some of Santa Barbara's early Black-owned businesses.